All the buzz about medical cannabis education and seniors’ health
By Catherine Flaman, Clinical Education team lead at WeedMD
When 90-year-old Wendy Thorburn got the news that her 60-year-old daughter needed hip surgery, she knew it was going to be a tough and painful recovery. Together, they started researching alternative solutions for easing some of the known side effects and symptoms associated with the surgery and conventional treatments protocols.
To their surprise, one of the doctors consulted suggested they look at medical cannabis as an alternative solution.
“I’d never used recreational drugs growing up, and never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be advocating for the use of cannabis for my loved ones, friends or myself,” said Thorburn, the vice president of the Residents’ Council at Arbour Heights Long-Term Care Residence, who up to then viewed cannabis as a recreational drug. “But the more I learned about it, I came to realize that Canada is at the forefront of innovating cannabis use – and it’s not about smoking – many of us are interested in cannabis oils.”
While Thorburn is not a medical cannabis patient, she is a staunch advocate for her peers. She says it comes down to education, open dialogue and an open mind to exploring alternative therapy options that may be available for seniors dealing with health challenges.
According to Statistics Canada, seniors are the largest growing demographic group in Canada, and it’s precisely this peer group that is the most curious.
Dr. Jonas Vanderzwan, a primary care physician for more than 15 years and now the medical director at WeedMD, has been practising cannabis medicine since 2014, having assessed and treated some 1,200 patients with medical cannabis. “What’s perhaps more fascinating than the specifics of the medical success stories is the speed at which society’s attitude towards medical cannabis is changing from caution and reluctance, to curiosity and acceptance,” said Dr. Vanderzwan. “One of the more surprising changes I’ve observed recently in this regard is the level of enthusiasm for medical cannabis that is coming from the seniors’ community – much more accepting when they learn about the alternative consumption methods such as vapourizing or the availability of an edible oil form.”
WeedMD has taken a special interest in the seniors’ demographic, having formed partnerships with over 30 long-term care and retirement homes, including Thorburn’s community residence. The company also partnered recently with Shoppers Drug Mart, a leading provider of pharmacy products and services, to supply cannabis strains directed at seniors’ and women’s health.
Dr. Vanderzwan agrees that education is an important and a vital part of the company’s platform: “Our clinical team works within the seniors’ network to educate health care providers, patients and their families to ensure that cannabis is being incorporated safely and responsibly into the care plan of interested patients.”
Catherine Flaman leads the Clinical Education team at WeedMD alongside Dr. Jonas Vanderzwan, who is WeedMD’s Medical Director and Chair of its Medical Advisory Committee. To learn more about medicinal cannabis oils and WeedMD’s diverse product lines including AXIS™ and ENTOURAGE™, visit www.weedmd.com or contact our client services team at 1-844-WEEDMD-6.
For more information, visit www.weedmd.com or contact WeedMD’s client services team at 1-844-WEEDMD-6.